When Boys Like Girls were announced as part of the lineup for When We Were Young 2022, fans who attended the festival were not expecting the group to announce a new album. Nor were they expecting it to come so soon, within less than a year.

The Boston-based band released their fourth studio album, Sundays at Foxwoods, on Oct. 20 — a long 11 years following the release of their last album. The 13-track record is a modern nostalgic project reminiscent of the group's emo/pop-punk roots, such as their 2009 album Love Drunk. However, the band gets experimental with synths, catchy pop hooks and a mix of soft and heavy riffs.

As the alternative rock scene continues to have its own revival in an era where music is accessible more than ever, the possibilities are endless when it comes to collaborations. One fans probably didn’t expect? A collaboration with K-pop’s chart-topping girl group TWICE.

In celebration of TWICE's successful year, Boys Like Girls’ frontman Martin Johnson was tapped to feature on a new version of retro dance-pop single “I Can’t Stop Me” for the group’s compilation album, The Remixes. After posting a snippet of his recording on Instagram Reels, the 2020 K-pop hit gained new virality thanks to Johnson's electrifying vocals.

Below, Johnson tells PopCrush about Boys Like Girls’ return to the scene, his first exposure to the world of K-pop and working with TWICE.

Listen to TWICE's "I Can't Stop Me" ft. Boys Like Girls:

Let’s talk about your remix of TWICE's “I Can’t Stop Me." Walk us through how it came about.

I don't really know the exact story but I got an email saying, “Hey, do you want to do a remix of TWICE?” I go, “I don't know what TWICE is. Do you mean you want me to feature?" I was sent three songs to choose from, so I spent the next six hours in a YouTube wormhole afterward and I was like, “This is the greatest thing I've ever seen!” My wife said it was awesome. All the songs are great. I love the outfits, the moves are awesome. Then I was like, “Yeah. The answer is yes. I would absolutely love to do this more than anything.”

Did you feel any type of pressure?

Well, they were kind of calling it a feature, kind of calling it a remix. I didn't really know what they wanted me to do. I thought, “How am I gonna re-write a song that has 2 billion plays and 600 million views on YouTube? Do you want me to write new stuff?” I was trying to picture the second verse of “The Great Escape” being re-written or the chorus of “Love Drunk." It's insane. I felt a bit of pressure, but honestly, if I had known the song or known who TWICE was, I think it would have made it a lot harder, because I would have felt a lot more pressure.

When or what exactly was your point of entry to K-pop?

When Netflix put out the Blackpink documentary. I was like, “OK, I'm way in.” I watched the Coachella stream and that was the entry point for a lot of Americans — that doc on K-pop. Obviously, BTS on the radio and their Coldplay collaboration could also be an entry point for a lot of Americans, but for me it was the Blackpink doc on Netflix.

The Instagram Reel of you singing your part of the “I Can’t Stop Me” remix went viral. Even the members of TWICE have praised it.

I've been so grateful. The fans have been super, super welcoming and amazing about the remix. There’s been more plays than we've ever had on socials. And obviously, their fans are super dedicated and amazing which has been incredible for us as well. To be able to be a part of this and sing with TWICE, and have a little moment there, I'm now obviously a massive fan. I feel like I'm gonna be a little bit starstruck when I meet them. It’s always interesting to be in a collaboration with somebody you've never met.

Did you know many K-pop fans have been through the punk/rock/alternative/emo fan pipeline? This is a collaboration many fans never knew they needed.

That doesn't naturally make sense [to me] at all, but it’s cool to see!

It’s been 11 years since the last Boys Like Girls album. How does it feel to be back?

Honestly, it's really one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced in my life. In 2010, guitar stopped playing on the radio, and it kind of felt like there was less demand for Boys Like Girls than ever. We just took a break. We stayed in touch. We stayed best friends.

When I stepped out of that spotlight and into the "normal world," it became really clear that it was important. It was a pretty big crash landing, and it became important to me to figure out who I was outside of Boys Like Girls. [The music industry] didn't really want the type of music I had been making for a really long time. As a survival mechanism, I started making different types of music for other artists in order to emotionally co-exist in the real world.

I buried all these incredible achievements and these wonderful things that happened in my early 20s, almost like amnesia. Stepping back into it, it became clear how much I missed it. It was such a great reminder of not only what we created in our 20s, but also what it meant to the people that listened to it. ‘Cause that was also something I had forgotten, and so it became clear how important it was for us to tour and make a new album. It was like making peace in a way.

Watch Boys Like Girls' "Blood and Sugar" Music Video:

You’ve been in the industry for over a decade with a musical legacy etched in so many hearts. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned?

Never take anything for granted. Stepping out on stage felt like being gifted a second chance, even though it wasn't even really a second chance. We just took a minute without playing. I think at the end of the day, for me, I have the best job in the world, regardless of whether or not some days it feels like I do.

I hum melodies for a living. I sing songs into a microphone. And I get to see the world and get paid for it. Along the way, I get to have this beautiful energy exchange, where I look out into the crowd. And all these people who've changed my life... We've essentially grown up together, and in some capacity, we've changed their life.

Christmas and New Year's Day are just around the corner. Is there anything you’re wishing for this year?

You know, I love my life exactly the way it is, and I love exactly where I'm at in my life right now. My wife and I just had a baby; she's six months old. I really enjoy making music with the guys. We’re the best that we've ever been. I don't really know if I want anything, you know. I have exactly what I have. I wanna stay in the moment.

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Gallery Credit: Taylor Alexis Heady